Patrician Brothers’ College Fairfield’s rugby league team has been crowned the National Rugby League Schoolboy Trophy Champions for 2018.
The team headed by captain Sione Taufui defeated Mt Ridley College from Craigieburn, Victoria, in a hard-fought game at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on 11 September ending at 32-26.
Coach Andrew Neaves said the boys fought back from two tries down twice in the game to secure the trophy, with star goal-kicker Christian Papa named as Man of the Match.
The boys in the blue and blue jerseys fought the first hurdle, a fantastic start by the Craigieburn team, to make it to the halftime break deadlocked at 18-all.
Their rivals again skipped away to an eight point lead early in the second half before they scored three tries of their own to win the game with “some outstanding football and selfless efforts,” coach Neaves said.
Christian, who along with his mates graduated Year 12 this week, said that footy’s been his whole life for years.
“Winning the game meant a lot to me and all the boys,” he said.
“It was our last game after six years of playing together. We wanted to play as brothers and win it and win the trophy for the school.”
Coach Neaves agreed it was an “absolutely great day for the boys and a proud moment for the College.”
“I was their under-13s coach when they started at the College and now they’re all 17 and 18 so it was a very special moment for me to see them winning together and then graduating school together on top of that,” he said.
The college has been a great training ground for NRL greats including Paul Langmack, Peter Sterling and Greg Alexander, who each also played in the Schoolboy competitions.
Coach Neaves said the next goal for the College is to qualify for the invite-only NRL Schoolboy Cup in the next season and he thinks it has a good shot.
The grand final was aired on Fox Sports and was the second in a row that the college team made – but they lost last year’s decider to St John’s College, Woodlawn.
Fairfield Pats actually won the very first competition in 1975 when it was known as the Amco Shield.
The event has grown to the point where it’s now the premier schools rugby league competition with more than 300 teams fighting it out in the Cup and Trophy formats each season.
The champion squad coached by Andrew, trained by Steve Nikolovski, and captained by Sione Taufui included Jordan D’Amico, Jackson Macroyannis, Joseph Afu, Jalen Wong, Lopeti Senituli, Christian Papa, Dietrich Roache, Paul Waqa, John Doh, Kody Duncan, Edmond Phares, Harley Sanchez, George Po, Arthur Tuakalau, Nicholas Fasavalu, Daniel Oshana, Klinton Le and Emerton Vea.